In The First Call on Monday, I pointed out that Mel Keeper of ESPN gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a C + for their 2021 draft class.
Based on the visceral reaction I saw to this story in my mail and on my Twitter show, the good people at Stiller Nation have – let’s say – a slightly higher opinion of their team’s new collection of players than that.
However, before we jump into Kiper’s throat, find out that he was kind to some of his peers. Here are a few more examples.
NBC Sports: C-
Traction wire: ° C
Draft grid: C
Professional football focus: C
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco): C
Illustrated sport: C +
Yahoo! Sports: C +
So Kipper was hardly alone in his lukewarm reaction to the selection process of head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert.
Between these readings and what I heard over the weekend on ESPN and the NFL Network, criticism of Steelers̵
• They didn’t have to go back to the first round, even as good as Najee Harris from Alabama.
• They had to find Ben Rothlisberger’s apparent successor.
• They did not address the main areas of need for 2021 early enough in the project and focused too much on development prospects.
The first two points are not worth rethinking. I support the drafting of Harris. And I think that after decisions were made to keep Roethlisberger, sign Dwayne Haskins and extend Mason Rudolph, the second debate became controversial.
But if you believe one side of any argument, you will never get to the other. They are Republicans against Democrats. Communism against capitalism. Star Trek vs. Star Wars. “Less filling” compared to “The taste is great”.
It’s time to not only stop beating these dead horses, but they’ve already turned to glue. So I will not commit again.
The final discussion, however, is a little more nuanced. Something average can be found.
As you read in Breakfast with Benz after the project, I agree with those who shake off the franchise’s failure to turn back to defense in the seventh round (Tre Norwood / Oklahoma) or go through the depths of speed (Quincy Roche / Miami) to the sixth.
Despite the talent of minor Pat Freyermouth (TE / Penn State), I am also skeptical of skipping a few excellent centers until the 3rd round, when the Steelers draw a player who is not so experienced in the position in Kendrick Green (Illinois).
And all three selections in the fourth and fifth rounds – Dan Moore Jr. (OT / Texas A&M), Buddy Johnson (ILB / Texas A&M) and Isaiahh Loudermilk (DE / Wisconsin) – are all likely to be special team players or emergency replacements. in 2021
So apart from Harris and a potential new player (Pressley Harvin III / Georgia Tech) in the seventh round, everyone else is probably starting the season no better than the second set in depth.
Here’s one thing to keep in mind, though. The famous Steelers draft class from 1974 is the barometer, which measures all other currents. Not just in Pittsburgh, but in the entire league.
This gave four Halls of Fame. Recipients Lynn Swan and John Stalworth in the first and fourth rounds. Linebacker Jack Lambert in the second round and center Mike Webster in the fifth.
Canton’s fifth employee, Security Donnie Shell, was a free agent without training this year. As was the four-time Super Bowl champion, Randy Grossman.
Of that group, only Lambert contributed significantly in 1974, starting all 14 games and winning the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. The other five players combined for all seven starts.
I would faint if this collection of Steelers rookies even sniffed out this level of career achievement. But if this 74-year-old group was allowed to become what it eventually became, the same luxury could be given to that batch.
Although I assumed the Steelers had garnered some criticism, they seemed to be charging for another run in the Super Bowl by detaining Roethlisberger. Not to mention other veterans who have been in the free agents market such as JuJu Smith-Schuster, Vince Williams and Tyson Alualu.
A confusing message is to present a class project that could be much more for 2022 than it is for 2021. But I’m confused about the Steelers since losing to Tim Thebow in Denver in the playoffs in 2011. The confusion of Steelers is nothing new to me.
Nor is it waiting for a class project to be drafted during the transition year, which perhaps no one is willing to admit we are witnessing. I will be patient.
For a change.
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review writer. You can contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. All tweets can be reposted. All emails are subject to publication, unless otherwise stated.